Your brand identity is the visual language which tells who you are to your customers. Is it speaking the same language and influencing your customers in the same way you desire?
Most of the time, when I work with a new client who already has logo and brand identity, I go through a series of questions asking them what they want their business to be, and what they want their marketing to say about them. In asking these questions, I look for answers such as “sophisticated,” “modern,” “vibrant,” “relentless,” etc.
I take these adjectives and use them to help drive their brand identity development and marketing design, be it their website, a marketing piece, a new ad campaign, product photography, etc. Since these adjectives are what they feel best describes the business they want to be, it makes sense then to take these adjectives and bring them to life in their brand identity.
That’s what I do for my clients: take what they want their business to be and help them achieve that through professional brand identity design to help influence their branding. This process often happens for clients who either don’t have a logo and need one, or have a logo but not yet a brand identity.
What about clients and others who already have a logo and brand identity? Do asking these same questions to find out what they want their business to be when they are already an established business with a logo and brand identity really help?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes because businesses not only change and grow over time, their desire and goals for the business also change over time.
When I discuss with a client their logo and brand identity that they’ve had established for some time, I ask them what they want their business to be, and what they want their marketing materials to say about them, still looking for these same adjective keywords.
The idea here is to find out what my client wants their business to be and compare that to my first impressions of their brand identity and marketing. Does what the client want their business to be align well with their current brand identity? What’s working now and what could be improved?
As I’ve discussed in previous articles about logo vs. brand, you actually don’t get to create your brand, you can only influence it.
Is your brand identity influencing your brand in the ways you want?
Hopefully you see where I am going with this. The questions I ask my clients when I ask them to describe how they want their business to be and what they want their marketing efforts to say about them is all about finding the appropriate ways to influence their brand.
The best way to influence your brand is to align what you want your business to be, what your marketing materials say about you, and your brand identity.
When these three things combine, you effectively make the biggest influence to your brand you can make. While I help my clients grow their businesses and their brand, I mainly do so through the use of professional brand identity design.
The influence of brand identity design
Humans, rather or not they agree so, are very visual people. Our lives are built around the ability to visually see and and be influenced by what is around us. Your brand identity and any other visual marketing pieces you use (website, brochures, TV advertisements, etc.) tap into the visual awareness that we experience throughout our day.
For example, as we move throughout the day going from place to place, we see multiple brand “in the wild.” The logos, colors, image usage, typography, etc. are all what makes up the brand identity, and is a symbol or visual cue to which you and others are attaching your opinion to.
Not only are you attaching your opinion of a particular brand to their brand identity, their brand identity at the same time is trying to influence that initial first impression with the colors it has, typography, symbols or graphics, layout, etc.
The colors, typography, shapes, layouts, patterns, image treatments, etc. all speak in different ways to influence. The most effective brand identities have carefully considered each of these to make sure they are aligned and speaking the same thing. The colors aren’t playful and childlike if the typography says it is a tax law firm.
Carefully picked colors, fonts and typography, etc. help communicate and influence your brand in more visual ways than voice and tone will, and is the first part to be understood when forming an opinion. This is why careful research, design options, revisions, and a brand identity style guide are all crucial to helping make sure your brand identity is influencing your customers in the right ways.
What does your brand identity say about you right now?
If other businesses’ brand identities are trying to influence your opinion of their business before you attach it to their brand identity, then the same is also happening to your brand identity.
Your customers and potential customers are also attaching their first impressions of your marketing and brand identity to your logo, thus creating and/or enforcing your brand.
Are your customers/potential customers being influence in the way in which you intended? When they see your marketing and brand identity, are they saying the same adjective words and phrases that you use?
Taking it a step further, what is your logo and brand identity saying about you? Is your logo professionally done, showing that you pay attention to the details and are invested in your business? Do you use more than two or three colors throughout your brand identity, showing that you may not be focused or disciplined? Is the typography more on the lighthearted side while you are offering serious services?
The best way to find out is to start asking people who’ve never seen your brand identity or heard of your business to get their first impressions on your logo and brand identity, your website, and your other marketing pieces. Listen to everything they say without trying to influence them yourself. Did they use the same adjectives and terms you did/do when you talk about what you want your business to be?
If they aren’t saying the same or similar things that you have hoped, then now is the best time to have your brand identity and marketing message reviewed professionally and possibly look into creating a new brand identity that more aligns with what you want your business to be.